Day 2 with foster pup

I adore this little girl, but it’s impossible to think of her as being an 8 month old puppy.

When I think of puppies I think of energy, and excitement. Always ready for an adventure, adoring their owners and wanting to make friends with everyone. And lots of gormless smiles 🙂

Pixie on the other hand is the most miserable, scared dog I have ever met. She has absolutely zero confidence, and she so desperately wants to be loved but is just shrouded in fear.

When we slept today she again chose to sleep next to me (I’m not as scary when I sleep!) and she got up a few times and had a very brief explore of the room.

My partner snapped this of us snoozing – see Pixie?

Sometimes she chooses to touch me as we both sleep, either resting her head on me or pressing her body against me. Every time she does this it feels like a huge accomplishment; my heart swells and I feel like crying.

Halfway through today I realised her tail position was, I think, her natural position. Before that it had been tucked and curled all the way under her belly, now it’s parallel to the ground and even pointing upwards a little – SUCH a difference!

She’s been coming to sniff me a lot, all over, very cautiously. I stay very still when she’s near and obviously don’t look at her.

She’s taking treats from me easier and easier, and we gave her breakfast piece by piece, leaving it in front of her or feeding her by hand. She still doesn’t have much of an appetite, but she’s eating regularly if not much, and she’s a little chunky anyway haha so I’m not worried.

She enjoys looking out the window, that’s the one thing she has got enjoyment from, and she’s done it maybe a dozen times today 🙂

fosterpup3

Getting her out for her first walk turned out to be surprisingly easy.

I attached a second lead to the one on her collar, then we left the front door open and me and my partner just sat outside. Within 30 seconds she was at the doorway, and within a few minutes she was past the house on the pavement.

She’s very scared of the person on the other end of the lead on walks, so having her on a 10ft lead meant she could make the decision of how far away from us she wanted to be.

On the first walk there was lots of pulling home, not wanting to walk etc, although she did have moments of walking ahead. We took her to the park around the corner and sat on a bench with her, and she felt confident enough to have a sniff about.

On her second walk 60% of the time she was walking ahead, and actually exploring!! 🙂 ❤

I let her go wherever she wanted as long as she wasn’t just pulling backwards, and when she did that I stood still and completely ignored her until she chose to move forwards.

She loved going through some long grass (I say long, it was about 6 inches tall but went to her shoulders!!) and actually had a spring in her step 🙂

She’s done her business outside both times, hasn’t had a single accident. Every tiny bit of progress feels so monumental; when she pootled around the room just now and sniffed about, when she took a treat and ate it immediately, when she rested her chin on my arm.

Little love.

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I wonder how much of her utter terror is down to complete lack of socialisation, and how much is down to the rough treatment? It sounds like she was fearful as an 8 week old puppy, and instead of helping her overcome that with gentle treatment and careful positive socialisation, they were rough with her.

Pixie 100% came from a disgusting back-yard-breed; oh how I had to bite my tongue when the lady’s sister said she came from “a fantastic breeder in the middle of nowhere” where there were many other litters of puppies, of various breeds 😥

Lots of talk of ‘swatting her rear’ when Pixie misbehaved. Talk of “she knows when she’s bad and knows what ‘NO!’ is” – nothing about praise.

In the short time the lady’s sister was there, Pixie was grabbed and dragged across the floor by her collar (as she cowered, tail completely tucked and trembling) several times.

First night here, very anxious:

She’s only 8 months old, yet she is overwhelmed by fear and has barely moved all day 😦

I’m sure she will gain confidence (I mean she’s doing GREAT so far) but isn’t it just so sad?

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4 thoughts on “Day 2 with foster pup

    • Pixie will only be here for a few weeks whilst her owner is in hospital, then she will go back to them…it makes me sad when she is making so much progress here, but I think we’re going to offer to walk her even when she goes home.

      Our oldest dog Kasper was badly treated and fearful when we adopted him. We’ve put five years of work into him and he’s a completely different dog now…very strange to associate him with the unruly, scared 9 month old he once was 🙂

    • Absolutely. I’m at least glad we’ve decided we’ll offer to walk her when she goes back to her owner, so we could still build her confidence and see her.

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